The ‘curator of research’ is an artist-curator with responsibility for progressive research communication.
A system attuned to economic reality but focussed on providing optimal good and services. Quality over quantity, more considered innovation.
I would argue that a dense text does a good job of being a ‘mothership’ or a bible to underpin research, but a bad job of catching the eye, seducing a consumer or entering the public consciousness.
As we start talking about communicating with large numbers of people we have no choice but to look outside of the museum or classroom walls and beyond the exhibition as the primary mode of presentation.
Throughout history the solutions to problems, and even solutions to problems we didn’t know we had, have been discovered by either venturing out of a discipline, or inviting those from other disciplines in.
One might go as far as to say that, from our point of view, culture cannot exist without the senses, and neither can we.
An artist makes artworks, thinking hard about communicating through their chosen media. In addition to this behaviour, an artist-curator thinks technically about how, why, where and when artworks (or outputs) will be consumed by an audience.
Art and curating, by their very nature, are constantly moving, looking for the next turn or movement. This tends to be how museums plot and present the development of disciplines over time.
The story of research communication could begin with scientists like Michael Faraday who realised that if their cutting edge research was to reach its potential and change the world it had to be seen.
In making judgements about how best to communicate ideas to audiences, one must pay real attention to the audience in question. It’s important to recognise that the concept of a ‘general public’ is long gone.
The ‘cultural landscape’ looks to describe the landscape we live in. It would include all spaces and ‘things’ in society, public and private, that form the cultural experiences of everyday life.
Joy Shellard recounts growing up in the museum during WWII in a book entitled A Child of the Home Front. Anecdotes of her youth are set against the backdrop of not only war, but growing up in a museum.
It’s people like Davis that have started to inform my ethical position; not progress vs conservation, but ‘progress for conservation’, research that negotiates successfully between the two, or makes both equal stakeholders in its investment, outcomes and impact.
When it comes to knowledge transfer, presentation and engagement it’s the translators, facilitators and organisers of the world that can provide the final pieces of the puzzle.
The prominent culture of research output is text, it exclusively takes the form of journal articles, essays and books. This doesn’t create favourable conditions for contemporary society to see, understand, engage or contribute to it.
To formalise this idea, I distilled de Botton’s sentence into something visual, an artwork as a symbol. With the regal portrait prevalent in 17th century european art I decided to re-appropriate an etching of La Rochefoucauld, adding the blue bird (representing the Twitter logo) and the hand upon which it perches.
Imagine if overnight manufacturer’s outputs could only be found in written form in libraries and the knowledge economy took over all advertising and the high street. The thought of that illustrates how unbalanced those two economies are in their relationship with publics.
In an academic, art or curatorial context it’s more helpful to think of ‘accessibility’ as providing a re-framing, entry point or window to the original work so that the viewer stands a chance of understanding it in a short space of time.
Self-directed research is concerned with things that grab your attention and the investigation of those leads through a personal curiosity or compulsion.